U. of Chicago Plans Faculty Expansion

October 12, 2009

The University of Chicago is planning a faculty expansion in coming year -- not just the unfreezing of selected positions that some institutions are hoping for this year, but an effort to increase the total size of the faculty. Robert J. Zimmer, the university's president, recently sent faculty members an e-mail in which he noted the impact of cuts in the last year, and said that he believed additional cuts would not be necessary. Further, he outlined plans for a faculty expansion. While details are not yet available, he said the following: "[W]e will institute a program for the gradual expansion of the faculty. Organized by the deans and provost and led by the faculty, we will seek out special opportunities and address key needs through a selected expansion over the next five years. Nothing is more essential to the university, to the evolution of our research and education programs at all levels, and to fostering our distinctive academic culture than the renewal of our faculty. This will be the first time in many years that the university has undertaken a systematic expansion of the faculty, and you will be hearing more from the deans and provost about the organization of this effort." In addition, he said that the university would evaluate the impact of cuts in the size of new Ph.D. cohorts admitted in many programs this year. "Robust graduate programs, in particular doctoral programs, are essential to the nature of the University. We must remain vigilant in our support for these programs," Zimmer said.

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